The first time I ever took a trip to Birmingham was with my friends when I was about 18 and we stayed in City Inn. I really liked the hotel back then as it was all nice and white and fresh and had a CD player in every room (easy impressed as a teenager haha!). The other thing that made this hotel stand out was the attitude of the very polite and friendly staff. I called to ask if there were any irons and was told that somebody would bring me one up to my room along with an ironing board. Shortly after, someone turned up with them as promised and told me he liked my outfit which made me extra happy! When I was finished, I took the iron and board back down to reception which they were surprised at and told me if I had called someone could have come and got it for me (which was sweet but I obviously didn't mind as I'm fully capable of carrying things to a lift by myself!). After that, I used to take trips to Birmingham with my friends every couple of months and quite often stayed in City Inn. Last year (2010), I went with my boyfriend to attend one of my friend's engagement parties and booked us into City Inn. I would like to point out that my boyfriend is extremely fussy and nearly always finds something to complain about but he loved the hotel as well and told me he wanted to come back for a full weekend. The rooms have now upgraded from a simple CD player to an iMac computer which acts as CD player, TV and computer with free internet access all in one which is great. Since my boyfriend had liked it so much the first time, I took him back there in October for 2 nights for his birthday and booked a room and breakfast for both days. This was the first time I had had breakfast in the hotel and was very impressed. You get a cooked breakfast which you order (bacon, toast, eggs etc) but you also have access to a buffet which has croissants, pain au chocolates, different types of fruit juice, yoghurts, cold meats, fruit and cheese. As a result we both ate loads both days and the food was lovely. The hotel is very close to Broad Street (when you come out of Brindley Place, you are basically on it) which is great as its only a couple of minutes walk to a range of bars, restaurants and clubs and there is also a Sainsbury's local right by the hotel in case you need any bits and pieces. I know that the hotel has recently rebranded and is now called Mint hotel but I can't really say if the actual hotel has also changed as the last time I stayed was October.
Stayed at the City Inn in Birmingham for a long weekend recently and I would rate this hotel as excellent. As a smoker my hotel options are limited and this hotel maintains smoking rooms - yippee! There is also on site car parking and a gym. the hotel itself is modern and bright; the staff are professional and friendly; service is as good as anywhere I have stayed: efficient with a smile. The rooms are modern and of a good enough size and have air con, FREE wi-fi as standard (plus an IMac but I took my lap top which logged in immediately with no password/code/credit card - a big plus to my mind); the fridge is pre stocked and not expensive with good quality wine/beer glasses provided. The wardrobe has a nifty motion activated light and an iron and board (as opposed to the boring trouser press) and lovely white bathrobes are provided as standard.
The rooms are very modern but small , and comparatively well fitted. . The standards of accommodation are higher than the newest Travel Inn Metros, but not up to the standard of a good quality Marriott or similar hotel group.
All rooms have air-conditioning systems and also have windows that can be opened to let in fresh air, even on the upper floors . The rooms have fitted desks, which house a power point, PSTN socket and ISDN socket for your laptop. Unlike many hotel rooms I have stayed in, the sockets are all arranged in an easy to access panel to the left-hand side, rather than behind the television or telephone.
The rooms also have fitted wardrobe units but the wardrobe is a bit small.
A CD player and FM tuner is also provided. I had to laugh at the sign that said, "As much as you might want to take this home with you, an alarm fitted to the rear will be activated in the event that it is moved". Compact discs can be loaned from the main reception and a good range of titles is available. The television also comes complete with satellite stations and pay per view movies. Tea and coffee making facilities are available, complete with "handmade Italian biscuits". There's also a little basket of overpriced treats to be avoided at all costs.
Breakfast is ok but you need to get there early to avoid the 8 am chaos. Jeffrey, the breakfast manager is worth his weight in Gold. Not the same place when he's not around.
Birmingham's City Inn is one of a cluster of new hotels that has sprung up within the vicinity of Brindley Place, to the West of the city centre. An explosive programme of office and leisure developments has made this one of the most up and coming areas of the city, with a clear focus on modern architecture. The City Inn is situated in Brunswick Square, which is indirectly linked to Broad Street, one of the main thoroughfares in and out of this side of the city. There are now a number of City Inn hotels dotted around the country, most of which cater for customers with the same standards and facilities.
The Birmingham hotel is well situated for the partygoers. Broad Street has the largest selection of bars and nightclubs in the city and towards the latter end of the week is a bustle of activity. The canalside development at Brindley Place contains a number of contemporary restaurants and cafes. The hotel is not the most suitable choice for visitors who wish to take in the shops, or other central facilities though the main shopping centre is fifteen or twenty minutes away by foot (although regular bus services are available on Broad Street). For travellers arriving by train, you should also be aware that Birmingham New Street train station is a good twenty-minute walk away, and if you have luggage, children, or both, then a taxi is definitely advised. The hotel has its own car park, but the facility is not free; an overnight car parking space will cost you £7.50 and availability is limited, so wherever possible book ahead.
The main entrance to the hotel faces Brunswick Square, which is largely pedestrianised, so the front of the hotel is open and easily accessible. The reception area itself is very stylish and bright; large windows let in lots of natural light, and there are plenty of comfortable chairs to sit in if you are waiting for other guests. Reception staff members are plentiful, with assistance easy to obtain, and the staff were all pleasant enough. Checking in iss relatively straightforward. I once managed to choose a night when half the cast of Hollyoaks, Brookside and Ready, Steady, Cook were in the hotel, and there was a slightly chaotic ambience, but normally it's less stressful. The checking in procedure used is one of the systems where printed cards are stored at reception and the receptionist has to leaf through to find your name. This is all very well, but when the box is stuffed full of hundreds of cards, and the queue at the desk is growing by the minute, these systems suddenly seem very inefficient. That aside, I was quite happy; a bowl of complimentary sweets rapidly dwindled as I waited.
One small tip for you. The lifts up to the rooms are double-sided, in that the door opens one side at reception, and then the other side on the upper floors. If like me, you stand in front of the door you came in through, waiting for it to open again, simply turn round and you will notice that the other doors have opened. This should save the embarrassment of finally stepping out of the lift, to be confronted with looks from other guests that suggest they think youre a fruit loop.
The City Inn rooms are very modern in style, and comparatively well fitted. Size wise, the rooms vary, but are generally quite compact. The standards of accommodation are higher than the newest Travel Inn Metros, but not up to the standard of a good quality Marriott. The architects and designers have made good use of space, and the rooms are laid out slightly more logically than most hotels.
All rooms have their own air-conditioning systems (top of my list of requirements) but also have windows that can be opened to let in fresh air, even on the upper floors (albeit with safety restraints). The sound proofing in the rooms seems to be very good. I dont generally hear any other guests, even in the morning when baths can normally be heard running, with GMTV droning in the back ground. I like the nice, comfortable beds and there are plenty of spare pillows and blankets. The rooms have fitted desks, which house a power point, PSTN socket and ISDN socket for your laptop. Unlike many hotel rooms I have stayed in, the sockets are all arranged in an easy to access panel to the left-hand side, rather than behind the television or telephone. The size and height of the desk is perfect for working, and the whole area is bathed in warm light from a stylish lamp, that can be adjusted for brightness.
The rooms also have fitted wardrobe units, with frosted glass fronts and backlights that are activated with the rest of the rooms lights.
A CD player and FM tuner is also provided, which is quite unusual, but very welcome. I had to laugh at the sign that said, As much as you might want to take this home with you, an alarm fitted to the rear will be activated in the event that it is moved. Compact discs can be loaned from the main reception and a good range of titles is available. The television also comes complete with satellite stations and pay per view movies. Tea and coffee making facilities are available, complete with handmade Italian biscuits. There's also a little basket of overpriced treats to be avoided at all costs.
The rooms all have their own telephone, complete with a voicemail service. Call charges are lower than some hotels, but still rather expensive:
Local calls from 7p per minute
National calls from 18p per minute
International calls from 99p per minute
The bathrooms are impressive. Most British hotels insist on providing a bath, but fit one that is so small that very few people could actually get in it anyway. Baths are, of course, much more wasteful than showers as well, so the City Inn has made the bold decision not to fit baths, and provides showering facilities only. The good news is, however, that the showers are superb. Each room is fitted with a real power shower, with fully adjustable height, strength and angle, and the shower cubicles are big enough for a small hippo. Whats more, the shower cubicles have proper doors, not curtains, so you run no risk of drenching the rest of the bathroom.
That aside, the bathrooms are, therefore, slightly claustrophobic, as they are quite small. The quality of fixtures and fittings is excellent, with toiletries, bath robes and large towels all provided for you. There are some nice small touches as well; a proper extendable shaving mirror is attached to the wall, which makes shaving much easier than having to peer into the large mirror behind the wash basin. Energy conservation means you get no towel rail either.
The City Inn offers 24-hour room service, but meals are served downstairs in the City Café, which is where I ate on my first visit. The restaurant has a very similar ambience to the guestrooms; clean, modern fittings with contemporary lighting and stylish tables and chairs. Service in the restaurant was generally quite good, although I was part of a large party of 20 plus guests and I felt that the restaurant staff was ill prepared to serve such a large group of people.
The dinner menu contained a good variety of dishes, including pasta, steaks and salads. I opted for a wild mushroom tagliatelle for starter (delicious), traditional haddock and chips for main course (decidedly mediocre) and a sticky toffee pudding for dessert (too drunk to notice what it was like). The wine list was not huge, but we found a couple of nice bottles that kept the evening flowing. Pricewise, I thought the restaurant was over-priced. Our party spent just under £700 for all of us, which worked out at around £31 a head. The quality of the food was not enough to justify this. Cheese and biscuits, for instance, was £5.95 and comprised three very small bits of dry-looking cheese and a couple of crackers. I wouldnt recommend the café to guests. There are plenty of far better places to eat within walking distance of the hotel.
The hotel has its own fitness room, which is not open to the public. It's small but well-fitted and handy if you feel the need to work off that toffee pudding. The hotel also has meeting room facilities. These are expensive, but they are very comfortable and preferable to more traditional hotels, with their run-down flea pit conference rooms. The daily delegate rate is £35.00 combined with an overnight stay, the standard rate is £135.
A standard room (double/twin) normally costs £99 per night, during the week, but weekend rates are discounted heavily. I normally manage to secure a discounted rate of £75, and I think this is a fair price for the location and standard. At the end of the day, these are really just glorified Travel Inns, with a few extras, so I would probably be loathe to pay much more than this.
Overall, I've always been quite pleased with the hotel, which offers me a comfortable, well-facilitated nights rest. I would definitely recommend eating out though - that City Cafe is just no good at all!